Today I did something that pained me greatly, although my decision was determined by wonderful blessings. I was asked to help lead services again in a few weeks and, for the first time ever, had to decline--because I'll be at a synagogue retreat, attendance at which was given to me as a gift. "We'll miss you," emailed the cantor. I sat at my computer and cried. How lucky can a person be, to have these two options at her feet?
But I must admit that as of right now, at least, leading services seems to be the greater joy. I've never been to this particular retreat, which is for women only. I've tended to shy away from those kinds of events for none but selfish reasons: most of my friends are women, I'm happy with my own empowerment and visibility in a complex, gendered world, and the area where I need the most help (and should be spending time and money) is in meeting men. Not women. Also, despite the stew of emotions that always pours forth after I sing, I'm wary of touchy-feely situations. Beyond a certain level, I want to run for the hills. Not that a women's retreat will be this way, but I'm a little afraid.
But I'm going, thanks to someone who probably knows what I need better than I do, and it will be a different and wonderful experience. Although I wish I could cut myself in two, Solomon-like, and leave one half back in New York to sing and pray.